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John R. Watt, PhD
Vice President
The ABMAC Foundation
Location : Cambridge, MA,
Specialization: US-China relations; Global studies; Healthcare in China and Taiwan
Education: Oxford University BA; Harvard MA; ColumbiaUniversity PhD
Chinese and Japanese History
Industry: Hospital & Health Care
Year of Experience : More than 25 years


I have been a China specialist for over 50 years and since 1986 have visited China almost yearly. My first book The District Magistrate in Late Imperial China is in over university 660 libraries and is regarded quite widely as a classic in its field. My interest in healthcare in Chinese communities began with a visit to Taiwan in 1977 and has developed significantly since 1979. My recent book "Saving Lives in Wartime China: How Medical Reformers Built Modern Healthcare Systems Amid War and Epidemics, 1928-1945," focuses on the medical issues of the Chinese in the 1920s 30s. and 40s. At that time epidemic diseases killed tens of millions, while drought, flood and famine killed many more, and unhygienic birthing led to serious maternal and child mortality. Troubled by this extensive trauma, a small number of healthcare reformers were able to save tens of thousands of lives, promote hygiene and sanitation, and begin to bring battlefield casualties, communicable diseases, and maternal child mortality under control. This study shows how biomedical physicians and public health practitioners were major contributors to the rise of a modern China. It is my third major book and is currently being translated into Chinese. The english version is available at www.brill.com/products/book/saving-lives-wartime-china.